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Download Organ Music for Christmas Here

The "Noëls" by Jean-François Dandrieu (1682-1738), Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772), and Claude-Bénigne Balbastre (1727-1799) are all organ variations on French carols of the day. Some of the noëls were popular tunes (even drinking songs) adapted to the season with words about the Christmas story or other biblical subjects. It was traditional for organists to improvise on these tunes before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Daquin drew huge crowds, and Balbastre was eventually forbidden to play at Midnight Mass because it was thought that the many people who came to hear his improvisations didn't bring the proper devotional spirit. Some of the noël variations were written down and published (in Dandrieu's case, many of the variations were borrowed from his uncle Pierre Dandrieu, c. 1664-1733), so we can hear today how these highly ornamented and inventive variations show off the many colors of the instrument. Two common techniques: "en musette" texture, meaning the pedal holds a drone note in imitation of the sound of a bagpipe, and "tambourin" parts, repeated notes on the organ imitating a drum rhythm.

The Bach pieces are all settings of Advent and Christmas tunes that would have been played before or during church services during the appropriate season. "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is our organ arrangement of the chorale from the Cantata BWV 147. "Wachet Auf" is Bach's own arrangement of the tenor movement from the Cantata BWV 140. The remaining Bach pieces are chorale preludes from the Orgelbüchlein.

The Gracia Baptista work is the earliest known keyboard work by a woman composer. It is a setting of the advent hymn Conditor Alme, still sung today as "Creator of the Stars of Night."

Christmas organ files MP3 MIDI Lyrics
Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiringdownload mp3 mp3  
Bach: "Wachet Auf" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Daquin: Noël Suisse ("Il est un petit, l'ange")download mp3 mp3  
Daquin: Noël en Musette ("Une Bergère Jolie")download mp3 mp3  
Daquin: Noël Étrangerdownload mp3 mp3  
Daquin: Noël sur les jeux d'anches
("Qu'Adam fut un pauvre homme")
download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Balbastre: Tous les bourgeois de Châtresdownload mp3 mp3 lyrics
Balbastre: Ah jô deu de pubelledownload mp3 mp3  
Balbastre: Joseph est bien Mariédownload mp3 mp3 lyrics
Balbastre: quand Jesus naquit à Noëldownload mp3 mp3  
Dandrieu: A minuit fut fait un Reveildownload mp3 mp3  
Dandrieu: Noel cette Journéedownload mp3 mp3  
Dandrieu: Vous qui desirez sans findownload mp3 mp3 lyrics
Dandrieu: Quand le Sauveur Jesus Christdownload mp3 mp3  
Bach: "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Bach: "Puer Natus in Bethlehem" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Bach: "Vom Himmel Hoch" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Bach: "Vom Himmel kamm der Engel Schaar" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Bach: "In dulci jubilo" download mp3 mp3 lyrics
Gracia Baptista: Conditor Almedownload mp3 mp3 lyrics

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Updated 12/08/2010.